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  • Jennifer Hauf

    Bigroot Geranium Bigroot Geranium One of the toughest plants that grow in the shade garden, bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) doesn't mind heat or drought. And, deer and rabbits typically pass it by in search of tastier morsels. This shade plant puts on a spring show with pink or white flowers; some varieties also offer outstanding fall coloration in their woodsy-scented foliage. Bigroot geranium is hardy in Zones 4-8 and grows 2 feet tall. Top Picks: 'Album' offers white flowers; 'Ingwersen's Variety' offers clear pink flowers; 'Variegatum' has purple-pink flowers and white-variegated leaves. Plant it with: Add height and interest to your shade garden by planting bigroot geranium in front of toad lilies. Learn more about bigroot geranium. Get garden tips and plant suggestions specific to your region. Toad Lily Toad Lily Put on a fall show with shade plant toad lily (Tricyrtis). This easy-to-grow perennial offers unique flowers that are often compared to orchids. Many are spotted with shades of purple or blue. Top Picks: 'White Towers' bears white flowers; 'Tojen' offers especially large lavender flowers. Plant it with: Let toad lily rise up behind a clump of medium-sized hostas or fern-leafed bleeding heart. Learn more about toad lily. Ajuga Ajuga This topnotch groundcover is grown mainly for its foliage, but also has pretty flowers. Ajuga produces glossy, dark green leaves and springtime spikes of blue flowers. Select varieties of this shade plant offer dark purple or variegated foliage, or pink or white flowers. Ajuga grows best in Zones 3-9 and grows only 6 inches tall. Test Garden Tip: Ajuga can be a vigorous spreader; it's not the best choice for small spaces. Top Picks: 'Golden Glow' has creamy-yellow edges; 'Black Scallop' offers shiny, dark purple leaves and fragrant blue flowers; 'Burgundy Glow' offers silvery-green leaves splashed with pink and burgundy; 'Chocolate Chip' offers smaller, purple-infused leaves. Plant it with: Purple-leafed ajuga varieties look great against blue hostas. Learn more about ajuga. Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart There's little wonder why old-fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a favorite of plants that grow in shade. In late spring and early summer, it produces pink or white heart-shaped flowers that hang from elegant, arching stems. This top-notch shade plant is hardy in Zones 3-9 and grows up to 4 feet tall. Test Garden Tip: By midsummer, old-fashioned bleeding heart usually goes dormant and loses its foliage. Plant it with astilbe or hosta so you don't end up with a bare spot in your garden. Top Picks: 'Pantaloons' is a variety with large numbers of pure white flowers. 'Gold Heart' bears bright golden leaves against the pink flowers. Don't miss out! Buy bleeding heart from our Garden Store. More on bleeding hearts Top Shade Garden Plants Top Shade Garden Plants Discover beautiful and easy-to-grow shade plants to add color and interest to shaded spots in your garden or landscape. Hosta Hosta Hostas are among the showiest and easy-to-grow perennial plants that grow in shade. They also offer the most variety of any of the multiple shade plants. Choose from miniatures that stay only a couple of inches wide or giants that sprawl 6 feet across or more. Look for leaves in shades of green, blue, white, chartreuse, and gold, with many cultivars being variegated. Some hosta flowers are very fragrant. Hostas are hardy in Zones 3-8. Top picks: 'Blue Mouse Ears' offers silvery-blue leaves and stays 1 foot wide; 'Frances Williams' offers thick, blue-green leaves edged in chartreuse and grows 2 feet wide; 'Sum and Substance' offers chartreuse leaves and grows 6 feet wide. Plant it with: Old-fashioned bleeding heart, which typically goes dormant in summer. Buy hostas now from our Garden Store! Learn more about hostas. See our list of long-living perennials. Our Favorite Shade Perennials Our Favorite Shade Perennials See some of our all-time top perennials for shade. Lungwort Lungwort A great plant with an unfortunate name, lungwort (Pulmonaria) earned its moniker from the silvery, lung-shaped spots that dot the foliage of these plants that grow in shade. The variegated foliage looks great all season long, but is an especially nice accent to the clusters of pink, white, or blue flowers in spring. Lungwort grows best in Zones 4-8 and reaches 1 foot tall. Test Garden Tip: Because its foliage is somewhat hairy, deer and rabbits typically leave lungwort alone. Top picks: 'Opal' features ice-blue flowers; 'Trevi Fountain' features cobalt-blue blooms. Plant it with: Japanese painted fern or 'Jack Frost' brunnera for a delightful silver-on-silver play. Don't miss out on growing lungwort in your garden: Order it from our Garden Store now! Learn more about lungwort. Yellow Corydalis Yellow Corydalis This hard-working perennial plant that grows in shade takes the prize for being the longest bloomer in the sheltered garden. Enjoy its clusters of yellow flowers from late spring all the way to frost. It's not just the flowers that are beautiful; the gray-green leaves of these shade plants are attractive as well. The plant grows about 12 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 5-8. Test Garden Tip: This plant can be a prolific self-seeder. Top picks: Corydalis lutea is the easiest to grow and the longest blooming. White corydalis (Corydalis ochroleuca) also flowers over an extended period. Plant it with: Accent the plant's bright flowers against dark green hellebore or hosta foliage. Like this variety? Order corydalis in blue from our Garden Store. Learn more about corydalis. Lamium Lamium Starting in mid-spring, Lamium produces clusters of pink or white flowers. This delightful groundcover can rebloom off and on through the summer, creating months of color. And even when its not blooming, the silver-infused foliage of these shade plants brighten up shady corners. Lamium usually stays about 8 inches tall and grows best in Zones 4-8. Tip: Keep lamium looking good by keeping it moist. If it dries out too much, the leaves will develop brown edges. Top picks: 'White Nancy' offers white flowers and silver foliage with a green edge; 'Beacon Silver' bears pink flowers and silvery leaves. Plant it with: Let lamium cover the ground underneath a colony of martagon lilies or an understory tree such as a redbud. Order lamium now for your garden! Learn more about lamium. Epimedium Epimedium An under-used plant that grows in shade that deserves a lot more attention, Epimedium has it all when it comes to shade plants. The groundcover blooms in spring in shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, or white; it tolerates dry shade; and it's deer- and rabbit resistant. Some varieties are evergreen in mild-winter areas; others offer good fall color. Most types grow best in Zones 5-9 and reach about 1 foot tall. Top Picks: 'Niveum' offers pure white flowers; 'Sulfureum' offers yellow blooms. Plant it with: Create delightful contrast with epimedium's shield-shaped foliage against the lacy leaves of yellow corydalis. Add epimedium to your garden this year. Buy now from our store. Learn more about epimedium. Brunnera Brunnera In spring, shade gardens sparkle with the sky-blue flowers of Brunnera. When not in bloom, its large, robustly textured leaves continue to look great -- especially if you grow a variegated type of these shade plants. While the plant is often short-lived, it does tend to self-seed, becoming a long-term presence in the garden. Test Garden Tip: Brunnera is somewhat deer- and rabbit resistant. Top Picks: 'Hadspen Cream' offers green leaves broadly edged in creamy white; 'Jack Frost' has green leaves heavily overlaid with silver. Plant it with: Go for a lovely blue-on-blue combination with forget-me-not.

  • Artemis Lin Design

    Brunnera A gorgeous underused shade-garden plant, brunnera produces sprays of pale blue flowers in spring. The heart-shaped leaves are rather plain, so look for variegated selections to increase the season of interest. 'Jack Frost' is one of the most popular. Plant Name: Brunnera macrophylla Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil Size: To 2 feet tall and wide Zones: 3-7 Plant it with: The springtime flowers look fantastic paired with white or yellow daffodils.

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Bigroot Geranium One of the toughest plants in the shade garden, bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) doesn't mind heat or drought. And, deer and rabbits typically pass it by in search of tastier morsels. This plant puts on a spring show with pink or white flowers; some varieties also offer outstanding fall coloration in their woodsy-scented foliage. Bigroot geranium is hardy in Zones 4-8 and grows 2 feet tall. Top Picks: 'Album' offers white flowers; 'Ingwersen's Variety' offers clear pink flowers; 'Variegatum' has purple-pink flowers and white-variegated leaves

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